Chapter Three: The Second MeetingEdit
"Status?", the General asked, not even waiting until the lieutenant was completely in the room.
Closing the door, he began to speak. "We've found the object in San Francisco, sir. However when we arrived there, there was nobody else to be found. We've questioned a few people in the area, and it seems whoever was inhabiting it was human."
"What can you tell me about it?"
"We've managed to make our way into the cockpit. The instructions are written in English, however we seem to be unable to start it as of yet," he continued. "Another thing. The metal is from a source we've never seen before. Our scientists believe it may be a new element, but it appears that, although it seems to be in working condition, the craft itself may be in excess of five thousand years old. Since we are unable to move the object at the present moment, we've sealed off the area."
The General looked at him. "Drape a clothe over it and bring it to the Cedar Grove Facility. I'll be leaving for it in under an hour. What is the status on the two teens?"
The lieutenant swallowed. "Sir, they've escaped."
"The guards were found unconscious outside of the hospital sir."
"Are you telling me two TEENAGERS managed to knock out five United States Soldiers?!"
"No sir. It seems a policeman did it to them."
"A police officer?"
"Yes. That's what the witnesses said, however we've checked with the Cedar Grove police departments. There are only two Asian police officers, and each of them were accounted for at that time."
"So the mysterious police officer was Asian as well, eh? I think we may have found another one of our visitors..."
"There were eight of them."
"GET THEM! FIND THEM! NOW!"
"Yes, sir," he said as he left the room.
A moment of thought for the General led him to press a button on his intercom.
"Miss Wayans?", he asked.
"Arrange transportation to Cedar Grove, California. I've got to check up on something."
"And Miss Wayans?"
"Don't tell anyone."
How it could be explained, he didn't know. How it moved, how it worked without magic, he couldn't even imagine. And yet, it did. He looked farther down the road.
Correction. THEY did.
Zelgadis had never seen contraptions of the like before. He couldn't even fathom how they worked without magic.
If given some time, he could probably design something like it, and infuse it with magical force. At least then, he would understand it.
But without magic?
Several of them were lying dormant near the side of the road. He walked up to one, placing his hand on its shell. The sleek, red, shiny shell of it. He could almost feel the sensation of riding such a contraption.
Lina seemed more interested in looking over somebody's shoulder near a bench, several metres away.
She was captivated by what was happening in his lap.
What they had thought before simply to be a small box, seemed to have an entire world trapped inside. With sounds, sights. Even people.
Lina had originally shrugged it off as a type of crystal ball for fortune telling. Until Zelgadis pointed out that he sensed no magic.
Lina, after finally noticing it as well, immediately became interested.
The man, who obviously did not speak their language looked nervous with an overeager redhead looking over his shoulder.
It was almost like a book. The contraption would open as a book. But with control. He interacted with what was happening.
There was a small... something. An arrow of sorts that he could control simply by placing his finger on a flat surface. When he brought the arrow to another image, and pressed down a button twice, at a fast rate. The image changed.
Lina was captivated.
Gourry, however, seemed to be more interested in what two men were doing at a stone table. He watched them play the game with interest.
For as long as he'd been watching, the two old men regarded him as nothing more than an onlooker. They didn't seem to mind him for the most part.
Gourry watched with interest.
So far, he had gathered the way they played. The little pieces could only move forward one space, unless they were to 'take' another piece, which allowed them diagonal movement. The ones of the end only moves up and down, and from side to side. The next ones moved strictly diagonal.
The pieces that resembled horses moved in L-patterns. The tall crowned piece basically went wherever it wanted, and the other one rarely moved at all.
Surprisingly, it didn't take Gourry long to figure out how to play the game. Gourry may have been lacking in the brain department, but he knew strategy all too well.
Which is probably why, when the game was won, one of the men invited him to play.
"<Ever play Chess before, son?>"
Zelgadis walked over to him. "I think he's asking if you've ever played the game before."
"Oh. No I haven't." Gourry shook his head.
The old man shrugged. "<Ya don't speak English, obviously. Oh well, what could it hurt?>"
The man made the first move. He moved one of the little pieces.
Gourry knew what to do. He had to protect his small crowned piece. And at the same time, try and get take the other mans small crowned piece.
Easily done. He smiled.
Gourry moved a little piece out, to allow access for one of his diagonal-movement pieces.
"Hey, you guys should see this! He's got people trapped in this thing!" Lina shouted. The man she was looming over was getting even more nervous.
"Lina, why don't you leave the poor man alone? He looks nervous enough!" Zelgadis called over to her.
Lina pouted. "I'm not hurting him. I'm just looking!"
Zelgadis shook his head and continued his investigation into the new land. The buildings were intimidating in a way, the sheer size of them made him somewhat nervous, but Zelgadis was more concerned of the size of the city.
It was huge.
Zelgadis had been in large cities before. Sairaag, Sailoon. A few others, but the city he stood in took precedence over all of them.
And the fact that he hadn't sensed magic. At all.
That wasn't completely true. Actually, he sensed the magic coming from Lina, and Gourry's light sword, but other than that, nothing.
Until a few moments later. Apparently the same thing had attracted Lina's attention. They didn't know the source until they looked to the north.
And then they had seen it. It was merely a speck on the horizon, gone unnoticed by everyone else. Even Gourry.
But to two veteran magic-users, the sight was seen.
"A dragon?" Lina asked.
Zelgadis shook his head. "It's far too large to be a dragon." He narrowed his eyes, trying to get a better view.
"What is it, then?"
"I don't know. But dragons breathe fire, too. This one isn't. It's breathing... some type of beam."
"You can see that from here?"
Zelgadis laughed. "There are some perks to being one- third Mazoku."
Lina nodded. "I guess so."
"I think we have our destination, Lina."
"What makes you say that?"
Zelgadis shook his head. "Since we've arrived here, I've sensed no magic at all. All of a sudden, in a split second, we see... something that resembles a dragon on the horizon. If that isn't a sign of where we have to go, I don't know what is."
Lina blinked, and then nodded. "Raywing?"
"I'd suggest that."
"All right, but I carried Gourry last time. Now it's your turn."
Needless to say, Gourry was caught unprepared. As were the rest of the people in the park as three people who they had never seen before sped off into the sky.
The old man at the chess table was too depressed from losing to a foreigner kid to even notice.
"Hey, take a look at this," the technician called.
Professor Harjeet Sandhu was a very happy man. At first, he had shrugged the mass sighting as hysteria, but when the army had called him to that location in a wooded area in the outskirts of San Francisco, and saw what he saw, he changes his mind.
"What is it?"
"There seems to be language control here. Look," the technician pushed a button that changed the language output on the main screen.
"German?" the doctor asked. He didn't know German at all, but what he saw was a European language of sorts.
"I think so. But according to the viewscreen, the output language is... Solarian."
"Solarian? What about the English output, what was that?"
Doctor Sandhu sighed. "Solarian and Lambling... Solarian obviously denotes some sort of Solar civilization, but Lambling... And it's English..." He looked up. "I've got to think about this. Have you made any success in trying to find the startup systems?"
"I believe so," the technician pointed towards a small hand-sized pad in the console. "This pad seems to be the startup."
The doctor examined it. "Yes, it seems to be some kind of hand-print identifier. I'd assume that the pilot uses his or her handprint as some sort of... key, to start the ignition."
The technician nodded. "Which means, we won't be able to fly this thing unless we can find the pilot."
"We can access the systems, though, right?"
"Yeah, the systems are fully accessible. We just can't start the blasted thing unless we have a pilot."
The doctor examined the console in front of him closely. "This is obviously a vessel designed for space flight, and the humanoid design would suggest to me that it's also meant for battle. It's probably safe to assume that there is a communications system of sorts."
The technician nodded in agreement. "Yeah, but do we want to turn it on? For all we know, the people at the other end of this thing may be ready to invade earth."
The doctor shook his head. "Somehow, I doubt it. Remember Roswell?"
"Yeah, that's that movie with... whatsisname..."
"Not the movie, blast it. The original Roswell. With the original crash!"
"If they were going to invade earth, they would have done it by now."
"Anyway, can you access the communications system? Get a recording of sorts?"
"I could try."
The technician sat at the console and began to punch away at keys. Doctor Sandhu smiled as the telltale signs on the screen.
It read: 'Access Communications Log?'
"That's what we want."
The technician nodded, and entered the assent.
'Playing last received message.'
The voice was somewhat accented, it reminded the doctor of his old University professor.
"Fei, good luck."
"That's it?" the technician asked. "Three lousy words?"
"Three lousy words spoken by someone not from earth, in perfect English. In fact, he's even got an old English accent."
The technician looked up towards the doctor for a moment. "What now?"
"Replay the message, and look for others. I've got to talk to General Leonard."
The technician nodded, and then continued his work on the computer console.
"What a city," Fei muttered. "Look at the place! It looks like the ruins at Zeboim!"
Elly nodded. "I know. It's so strange. I'd almost swear we were in Zeboim, if it weren't for the sky."
Fei blinked. "What's wrong with the sky?"
"It's the wrong colour."
Fei looked up. "It's blue. That's the right colour."
Elly laughed. "Fei, I grew up in the sky. I know the colour. Yes, it is blue, but it's the wrong shade. The air here seems to be more fresh, too."
Fei took a deep breath. "Yeah, I noticed that."
"And the gravity is off somewhat. I feel heavier here."
Fei nodded. "That too. Well, we know it isn't our world. So it must be the world of origin, or another colony."
"I doubt it's the results of another colony ship. Our gears are thousands of years old, perhaps even dating back to the days of the flight of Mahanon. These people don't seem as advanced as that."
"It was ten thousand years ago. Who knows what's happened since then."
Elly shrugged. "Could be anything I suppose."
"There sure are a lot of buggies here, though," Fei remarked, looking up the road at the passing cars. "They seem to have a more intricate design, too."
Elly nodded. "Yeah, we had inter-city transport in Etrenank, but those were like mass transit modules, like what we rode in at the tower of Babel."
Fei nodded his agreement. "We've still got to figure out what we're doing here. And I don't like the fact that we left the Xenogears back in those woods."
"For some reason, I'm not worried about that. Fei, I'm not sure we'll even need the Xenogears anymore."
Fei paused. "What? How are we supposed to get back home without--"
"Who says we need to go back home, Fei? Deus is gone. Miang is dead for good, and Krelian... Krelian won't be a problem anymore."
Fei shook his head. "But we can't just leave the others... I promised Bart I'd come back!"
"Fei, please. They can take care of themselves. There's nothing for us back there... Why... why risk our lives to go back to that?"
"Elly... you..." Fei shook his head. "What about Nissan?"
Elly stopped. "Nissan... it's gone, Fei."
"What about the spirit? They called you the Holy Mother, Elly. Sophia reborn, how can you just... leave them?"
Elly looked down towards the ground. "Fei, I... When I was in Miang, looking through her eyes, things happened. Her thoughts leaked into my own." She looked up and shook her head. "I'm sorry, I'm trying to rationalize this, when I shouldn't be."
Fei focused his eyes on the very spot Elly was looking. "It's all right. We've been through a lot."
"And you're about to go through a hell of a lot more, freaks," another voice said from nearby.
Fei and Elly looked up and gasped. They had inadvertently walked into a deserted alleyway, right into the waiting arms of several rough-looking characters.
"Who are you?" Elly asked. "What do you want?"
The leader smirked, and pounded an aluminum baseball bat into the palm of his hand. "Relax, we ain't gonna do nuthin' to you, sweetie. Provided yer boyfriend here gives us yer cash. Now."
Fei narrowed his eyes. "We don't have any money. Leave us alone."
Several gang members laughed. The leader smiled even wider. "Oh jeez, guys. These two don't have any money... Guess we'll hafta leave 'em alone!"
Fei knew he was being sarcastic, but decided to play along. "Glad you see it our way."
The leader's smile dropped. "You see, things don't work that way... you don't have any money, then that's fine. We just hafta find ways for you to make money."
"What are you gonna do? Get us jobs?" Fei joked, with a serious look on his face.
"You could say that. A sweat shop would pick you up for a few grand, and the misses here could fetch a pretty penny in the whorehouse."
Elly smiled. "You'll have to catch us first."
The leader smiled. "I was hoping you'd say that. Come on guys. Oh, and try not to hurt her face. Butch'll dock us a few grand if we do that."
Fei took up a defensive stance. "Let's get this over with."
Elly pulled out her attack rod. A twelve inch piece of metal.
"Whatcha gonna do with that, bitch? Roll us to death?"
"Something like that," Elly taunted.
And the fight began. The gang leader took his bat and swung it at Fei, but he managed to kick it out of his hands easily. Another man swung a chain at him.
Fei caught the chain with his hand, and then ripped it out of the hands of the gang member. He swung the chain around, smacking the leader on the side of the head. The leader was sent flying into the side of the wall.
Another bat-weilding gang member approached Elly with a leer on his face.
"Ready, sweetie? You gonna taste this real good, I says."
"Whatever," Elly replied.
The gang member swung his bat towards Elly's midsection. And it connected.
And Elly smiled.
The gang member looked on in confusion, as he tried to figure out how Elly had stopped the swing of the bat with a mere twelve inch rod.
She flicked the rod lightly, and the bat flew out of the gang members hands. Elly crossed the distance between them and used her rod to hit him on the joints, dislocating each one as she knocked them.
She turned and began to work on the next.
Fei had already knocked out the leader, and the others were becoming easier and easier. Two had run off after seeing what the both of them could do, which left two more who thought they could take them on.
Less than thirty seconds later, Fei and Elly walked out of the alleyway.
"Next time, let's watch where we're going?" Elly suggested.
Fei simply nodded.
"So, I guess we should head back to the Xenogears?"
"Yeah. As much as I... like this place, I think it would be best that we go back where we came from."
Elly nodded, and the two of them began to walk back the way the came.
"I hope you people know what you're doing. I'm gonna catch a cold!"
Ranma shook his head. "Is she always like this?" he asked Shinji.
"It might be an idea to refrain from talking to loudly. We're attracting enough attention as it is," Cloud said.
"Easy for YOU to say. You've got a giant sword and don't have perverts behind you looking inside of your hospital gown!"
Locke and Sabin narrowed their eyes.
"I'm not a pervert," Sabin said, rather matter-of- factly.
"Yeah... Me neither!"
"Cloud, there ARE ten of us. It would be rather hard for us not to be noticed," Tifa mentioned.
"Fine, should we spread apart then?" Cloud asked.
"NO!" Asuka yelled.
"I thought you didn't want us perverts looking inside your gown..." Locke said.
"Better you perverts than everyone else!" Asuka replied.
Akane could only laugh.
"So, you people come from somewhere else, then?" Shinji asked, trying to make conversation.
"Yeah. We're from Japan originally," Ranma said. "Place called Nerima. Ever heard of it?"
Shinji nodded. "Yeah. Nerima was destroyed after the second impact, as well as a lot of the other wards of Tokyo."
Ranma paused. "Nerima was DESTROYED?!"
"You know, I really, really think we'd better move, Akane."
"It's supposed to happen in six months."
"The second impact."
Asuka blinked. "Six months... Shinji, do you think... Do you think there might be a way to prevent it?"
Shinji sighed. "I don't know... For some reason... it doesn't feel the same."
Asuka blinked again. "What do you mean?"
"Well, feel the ground under your feet. Feel the wind blow, breathe the air in... It's... different... I can't say how or why, but it's different."
Asuka breathed in the air. "It feels the same to me."
"It's the same for us. When we first arrived here, things didn't feel right. The air, the wind. Our centre of gravity... Nothing about it felt right, and I couldn't place it. Only that this isn't our world."
"Hell, they've got plants here I've never even seen. Entire fields of the stuff! Damn straight this isn't OUR world," Sabin announced.
"Yeah. Ditto," Ranma looked back on the rest of them. "There's just something about this place. We're in the future and all, that could be it... But theres something else... It just doesn't feel right."
"I feel something," Terra said.
The entire team looked back on her. Cloud walked up and put his hand on her shoulder. "What is it? Is it him again?"
"No. I still feel him. It's a dark feeling. But there's... something else. From the south, near him."
Ranma looked towards the south. "I don't see nothing."
Akane shook her head. "We're an hours drive away from him right now, Ranma. Of course we wouldn't see anything."
"They're approaching him."
Terra closed her eyes, and let a gasp flow through her.
"Terra?" Celes asked. "What's... oh my... God..."
Sabin shuddered under some unseen force, which left Locke looking at the three of them, confusedly.
Terra opened her eyes.
"It's back," Celes said.
Locke looked at his hands. He snapped his fingers and a spark flew from them. "It IS back!" he said.
"What's back?" Ranma asked.
"Our magic!" Sabin said, and then shoved a fist triumphantly into the air.
Asuka scoffed. "Magic? What are you guys smoking?"
Locke smiled and placed his hands together. He stayed calm as he closed his eyes and muttered a single word. "Float."
Locke rose two feet off of the ground.
Asuka stared in disbelief.
"How did we get our powers back?" Sabin asked. He looked towards Terra.
"I can only think of one explanation."
"Close contact with the materia."
Cloud raised his eyebrow in confusion for a moment, and then let it dawn on him.
"I see. If you guys are in close contact with a magical item, then you get your powers."
Terra smiled and nodded. "I don't suppose you could be persuaded to lend us each a stone?"
Cloud nodded. He plucked two stones off of his sword, and Tifa did the same. They each handed them to the four magic users.
"Wait. There's something..." Terra said. She looked back to the south. "They've found him."
"I don't know, but they've found him."
The ten of them looked to the south, hoping for some kind of sign.
"Good luck," Terra said, before turning away.
"Come on, slowpoke!" Lina taunted.
Zelgadis shook his head. "You try carrying him, then!"
Gourry, on the other hand, was ignoring the vocal exchange between the two of them, and was busily trying to keep his stomach from exiting by way of mouth.
So he did the first thing he could think of. He focused his eyes on something far away.
That just happened to be the ground.
The three of them were following a forest road since leaving the city. They had already gone over several smaller- sized cities, and were now covering ground faster than they could have expected.
They were even moving faster than some of the vehicles down on the road.
All of a sudden, Lina stopped.
Zelgadis caught up to her and looked around.
"This is the place," Lina said.
"Yes, I can still feel the energy in the air."
Gourry was still focused on the ground, but it seemed to be something in particular.
"What's going on down there?"
Lina and Zelgadis looked down and immediately noticed the gathering that was happening below.
Several vehicles were lying dormant, with flashing lights on the top, and there was a small crowd of people.
Lina and Zelgadis began to lower themselves to the ground.
And then they both paused.
"What's going on?" Gourry asked.
"There's something... else," Lina said.
Zelgadis looked towards the horizon. I feel it too. Not too far.
Gourry was desperately trying to find an excuse. "Why don't we go down there and check it out, before we go check out this new thing? Good idea?"
"It smells of death down there, Gourry," Zelgadis said, his eyes still scanning the horizon.
Gourry narrowed his eyes and looked down. Three men were making a white outline among a third lying on the floor.
And then the three of them went. Lina and Zelgadis in the lead, with a wildly flailing and screaming Gourry behind.
And they went faster this time.
"What is it?" Zelgadis asked.
Lina shook her head. "I'm not sure. I feel something... I can't place it."
"I think I can. It feels like a disturbance in the astral plane." Zelgadis closed his eyes for a moment. "I see a trail of death."
Lina sighed. "You're better off in the astral plane than I am. But I think we should check it out. It's not our place to get into anything, but if we brought this thing with us from Sailoon, then it's our responsibility."
Zelgadis blinked. "Lina... how noble. Now would you tell me what your real motive is?"
Lina laughed. "We're outside of Sailoon, Zel. For all we know, we could be on another world. And to tell the truth, it wouldn't surprise me. Look at these things. They travel almost as fast as Raywing, but they stay on the ground and don't require magic. That... thing the man was holding back in the city. It was like a whole world opened up in his lap."
"And the fact that nobody seems to speak our language?"
"That too. It's just strange, is all."
"It's close. I can feel it. We're only a minute or two away."
"There's something else," Lina said, "Can you feel it?"
Zelgadis nodded. "From the north. It's a different feeling. I can't sense anything from the astral plane on it... yet."
"Look. Down there," Lina pointed.
Below them, speeding down the road at an amazing rate was another vehicle.
The three of them lowered themselves down.
He was angry.
The Nameless One was very rarely angry.
In fact, he rarely showed any emotion whatsoever. Worlds had fought against him in the past, but in the end, they always lost. This is the first time in billions of years that he had felt even an iota of anger.
And now it was consuming him. He had to meet the ones who had fought him, and destroy them.
The new shell he was housed in was uncomfortable, but he wold easily be able to fight in it. It was a female form, wearing a long dress. Luckily, the form was in her mid- adulthood.
Her exact age was 32, her name was Priscilla White. Her destination that day was the local church, so she could participate in the youth meeting.
However, the nameless one had other plans for her.
She was consumed quickly, with minimal resistance, and then he continued his way.
And now he was heading north. He knew where they were going. A military installation in Cedar Grove, as he had learned from the knowledge of the law enforcement officer he had consumed earlier.
He would get there within the hour, provided there were no further interruptions.
He almost didn't notice the three figures look in the side windows of the car. He felt no need to check since the car was going in excess of 125 miles per hour.
And yet, there they were. Looking at him as if he were a demon.
He slammed the car's brakes to a halt and exited the car.
"Who are you?" the redhead asked.
The shell of the nameless one sneered. "This is the first time I've been introduced to such magics. Flying dragons that appear from nowhere. Flying people that can go faster than this wretched contraption," the shell looked towards Zelgadis. "People of stone..."
"That is no answer," the stone man said.
"I give answers as I please."
"She sure doesn't act like a lady," the blonde muttered.
"Are you from Sailoon?" the redhead asked.
"I know of no such place," the shell replied. "Now leave me be, before I consume you as easily as I have consumed entire worlds."
Zelgadis narrowed his eyes. The figure in front of him didn't seem threatening in the least. At least, to the naked eye.
But the astral plane was another matter. He could see a dark aura all around the figure.
"We don't scare easily!" Lina announced. "Now tell us who you are, or you can taste a fireball!"
The woman sneered. "I have said this before, so shall I say again. I have no name. I have no need of a name. I am one who transcends mere names. I am the Alpha and the Omega. I am the first and the last. I consume lives as you would consume food. I am the destroyer of worlds."
"I'm Gourry! Nice to meet you!" Gourry announced cheerfully.
Zelgadis shook his head sadly.
"Indeed. Now I'm afraid I must take your lives and your skills."
"Not a good idea," Lina said.
"I'll take care of this," Zelgadis said.
The nameless one merely approached.
"RAH TILT!" Zelgadis cried.
All of a sudden, the nameless one stopped. The flashes of energy that reached it sent it doubling over in pain.
His shell screamed.
And then it collapsed.
"What happened?" Lina asked.
Zelgadis looked briefly into the astral plane. He gasped.
"Raywing!" Lina cried, and pulled Gourry into the air behind her. They sped off to the north, with Zelgadis in close pursuit.
A moment later, the shell stirred to life on the ground. It stood up, and looked menacingly at the retreating forms.
"Twice," it said. "Twice have I been defeated. You all shall meet your doom at my hands!" It yelled.
It stared at the retreating forms for a moment longer, and then climbed back into the car. It sped off as quickly as it could.